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Abscessed Tooth

What is an Abscess Tooth ?

What is an abscessed tooth or dental abscess? This is an infection of the face, mouth, jaw or throat that starts as an infection or cavity of the tooth. Although such infections may be due to dental health that is poor and may result from lack of appropriate as well as opportune dental care, they also can develop in individuals with certain underlying medical problems such as autoimmune disorders – such as Sjogren’s syndrome and similar disorders, or conditions that cause weakening of the immune system such as diabetes, post-radiation or chemotherapy cancer care. Abscesses also can be triggered by minor oral cavity trauma.


A tooth that is abscessed is infected either between the tooth and the gum or at the root of the tooth and is extremely painful. It is mostly caused by tooth decay that is severe. Other origins of abscesses include tooth trauma, such as being chipped or broken as well as gum diseases such as gingivitis.

These problems cause openings in the enamel of the tooth, allowing bacteria to infect the pulp or center of the tooth. This infection can also spread from the tooth root to the bones that support the tooth.

Abscess Tooth Symptoms

When a toothache is continuous and severe and causes gnawing or throbbing pain or shooting or sharp pain, it is possibly a tooth that is abscessed. Other signs or symptoms can include:

  • Pain while chewing
  • Fever
  • Tooth is sensitive to cold or hot
  • Taste of bitterness in the mouth
  • Breath smell that is foul
  • Neck glands that are swollen
  • General uneasiness, ill feeling or discomfort
  • Swelling and redness of the gums
  • Area of the lower jaw is swollen
  • Draining, open sore on the side of the gum

When the tooth root dies due to an infection, the hurting of the tooth might stop. But, this does not indicate the healing of the infection; rather the infection stays active as well as continues spreading while all the time destroying tissue. It is for this reason that if an individual has any of the above listed symptoms, it is vital to visit a dentist even if the pain is gone.

Abscessed Tooth Pictures

Tooth Abscess

Picture 1: Abscessed Tooth (diagram)

Image source : toothandteeth.com

 

Abscessed ToothPicture 2: Abscessed Tooth photo

Image source : dental-health-index.com

 

Abscessed Tooth picturesPicture 3:  Tooth Abscess

Image source : medicalpicturesinfo.com

Abscessed Tooth picture drilling

Picture 4: Abscessed Tooth Drilling  (Treatment)

Image source : dentalinsurancecare.com

Abscess Tooth Causes

If an individual cultivates a tooth that is abscessed, a tiny pocket or hole will normally form next to the tooth. This area will normally be full of pus and if it doesn’t drain away naturally, then the abscess will develop. The cause that is most common for a tooth to become abscessed is either cavities or gum disease.

The medical term for disease of the gum is periodontal disease and develops because of a buildup of bacteria in the plaque surrounding the teeth and gums. Any disease of the gum is an infection of the tissues and bones that support the teeth. These conditions can be mild, and only have some bleeding when teeth and gums are brushed. But if not treated, it can develop into conditions that are much more serious often resulting in the loss of teeth. Cavities can develop an abscess if holes appear in the teeth. Serious cavity holes will need to be filled by a dentist so as to stop any further decay and stop any further tooth destruction.

Having a problem with dry mouth can also add to abscesses. Dry mouth is a factor that contributes to cavities that lead to abscesses. Chewing gum as well as drinking liquid regularly usually solves any problems with dry mouths. If not, a physician is able to prescribe a drug to help with the dry mouth problem.

Abscess Tooth Treatment

The goal of any treatment of an abscessed tooth is to first stop any pain, then stop and eliminate the infection. After that the goal is to preserve the tooth if possible and to make certain that further complications do not reoccur.

The dentist will first probe the tooth with a dental instrument. If there is an abscessed tooth, the individual will have pain when the dentist taps on the tooth with a dental probe. The dentist will also ask some questions such as does pain increase when bitten down on or when the mouth is closed tightly. The dentist will also suspect an abscessed tooth if the gums are red and swollen.

The dentist will then take an X-ray picture of the area to look for any erosion of the bone surrounding the abscess.

Next to help eliminate the infection; the abscess will need to be drained by some method. Drainage can be accomplished through the tooth by performing what is known as a root canal. This surgery may also be advised to eliminate any diseased tissue of the root after the infection is cleared up. A crown can then be placed over the tooth.

When a dental or tooth abscess is at an advanced stage, the pain is usually unbearable and the patient might not be able to sleep, or find any relief due to any pressure on the tooth creating horrific pain. This is when it is time to think about the tooth being removed allowing for drainage through the socket.

A third method to drain an abscess can be to make a small incision into the gum tissue where it is swollen.

Antibiotics will be prescribed to aid in eliminating the infection. To relieve any discomfort or pain, the dentist will usually advised using warm water with salt to rinse as well as over-the-counter pain medications such as ibuprofen (Motrin or Advil) or a pain prescription might be prescribed.

The pain and inflammation of an abscess can also be relieved with a low-level laser, which makes the patient more comfortable to receive any injections in a more painless method.

Abscess Tooth Home Remedies

Often the dentist might not be able to see the patient immediately for an abscess, so until then there are home remedies to help with the toothache especially if over the counter pain medications are not helping.

First, an individual can try putting ¼ teaspoon of “potassium carbonate” in approximately 4 ounces of water and use the mixture to rinse the mouth. Using it 3 or 4 times often will reduce any pain in a couple of hours. This is an alkaline solution which normally eliminates any bacteria. Many people that have done this in the past have stated that this remedy to rid pain is a life saver.

Others swear by taking clove powder and stuffing in into the cavity as the clove will also help with the pain. Or you can mix oil of clove and peroxide to help with the abscess.

Another home remedy for tooth abscess especially when the tooth aches or the gums are swelling – immediately drink two or three glasses of water and continued drinking water every 20 to 30 minutes. The pain will begin to subside soon. This process works since the body absorbs the water through the colon and will usually cause the pain to completely subside.

Of course the best method for teeth abscesses is to just prevent them all together by maintaining proper dental hygiene. Oral hygiene that is bad is what leads to cavities and when these cavities are left untreated this is when abscesses form. It is important to understand oral hygiene and to brush and floss regularly. Do not postpone regular visits to the dentist. And it is probably also a good idea to purchase some dental insurance which is really not very expensive but is a God send when there is an abscess or other dental problem.

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